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The following article appeared in the 2019 Sports Planning Guide. Download the full guide below.


Did you know the nation’s smallest state is also home to a flourishing sports scene? This coastal New England state doesn’t compromise quality for quantity as you will soon see – the state’s capital, Providence, is home to a wealth of facility options that are sure to make any sports planner’s job easier. From selecting a venue to coordinating travel and logistics, the knowledgeable staff at the Rhode Island Sports Commission, a division of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, is here to help. No matter the sport, season, or event size, Providence can take your event to the next level.

Notable Recent/Upcoming Events

  • Trilogy Lacrosse (July 13–15, 2019)
  • Little League Baseball New England & Mid-Atlantic 9-10 Championships (Aug. 2–9, 2019)
  • RI Sting Girls Hockey Tournament (Oct. 12–14, 2019)
  • U.S. Figure Skating Synchronized Skating Nationals (Feb. 25–29, 2020)
  • Varsity Spirit Festival (March 12-15, 2020)
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Clubs Gymnastics Championships (April 15–19, 2020)
  • NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals (May 15–27, 2020)

CVB/Sports Commissions Services Offered

  • Volunteer Staff
  • PR/Media Assistance
  • Signage
  • Site Visits
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Lodging Services
  • Grant Programs
  • Welcome Bags/Gifts
  • Itinerary Development
  • Event Planning Assistance

Click on tab to see more information about a specific facility

Dunkin’ Donuts Center

Dunkin’ Donuts Center

While Providence has no shortage of impressive sporting venues, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center stands out as “the” destination for sports in Rhode Island. The center features a 31,000-square-foot arena floor and a 25,000-square-foot concourse and can house a whopping 13,000 spectators. Though it was built in 1972, the center underwent an $80 million renovation in recent years. It has played host to major tournaments such as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and is open to sports planners looking to think big. As an added bonus, the center is perfect for event planning, as it connects directly to the Rhode Island Convention Center and the adjacent Omni Providence hotel.

Sports: Basketball, cheerleading, hockey, multi-purpose, volleyball

Rhode Island Convention Center

Rhode Island Convention Center

Credit: GoProvidence

If you’re looking for space, and lots of it, look no further than the Rhode Island Convention Center. Inside you’ll find a 100,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a 20,000-square-foot grand ballroom, and 23 multipurpose meeting rooms. For added convenience, visitors can connect directly from the RICC to the Omni Providence hotel and Providence Place mall. Over the years, the RICC has hosted major events in cheerleading, dance, roller derby, and much more, so the sky’s the limit when planning your next event.

Sports: Cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, roller derby, multi-purpose

Brown University

Brown University

Providence is home to Brown University, one of the nation’s eight prestigious Ivy League schools. While it is renowned for its academics, the university also boasts a variety of outstanding venues that host regional and national events and allow sports planners plenty of options to meet their needs. Whether it’s the four newly renovated multipurpose outdoor fields (three turf and one natural grass), a pool rental in the new state-of-the-art aquatics center, use of the 20,000-seat stadium, or access to the boathouse situated along the Seekonk River, Brown University’s athletic facilities are top notch and a favorite among sports planners.

Sports: Basketball, crew, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, water polo, and much more

Providence Career and Technical Academy

This school is home to some of Providence’s most state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and offers seating for around 1,800 people in a 65,000-square-foot fieldhouse. Inside the gorgeous steel and glass building you will find space and amenities for sporting events such as track and field meets, basketball games/tournaments, cheerleading competitions, and much more – all just steps from the center of downtown.

Sports: Basketball, cheerleading, soccer, track and field, wrestling

Providence College

Providence College

Another prominent player in the local college athletics scene, Providence College offers athletes and groups access to a variety of high-quality venues that include a six-lane, 25-meter pool; a three-court racquetball complex; an all-purpose field house that can be interchanged for basketball, tennis, and volleyball; a variety of outdoor fields; and Schneider Arena, a state-of-the-art hockey facility, which can seat up to 3,000. All of this can be found on the gorgeous campus just north of downtown,

Sports: Basketball, hockey, football, racquetball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Rhode Island College

As sporting venues go, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is aces. Located in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island, the 13 manicured grass tennis courts and tranquil, historical charm make this an ideal locale for sporting events (including croquet and tennis). Private function space, complete with a state-of-the-art audio visual system, is available for meetings and receptions. Conveniently located on historic Bellevue Avenue, the hall is a forehand away from the city’s famed Cliff Walk, stunning mansions and idyllic beauty.

Sports: Tennis, croquet

University of Rhode Island

URI_Softball

Credit: URI Athletics

Proud home of the Rhode Island Rams football team, the University of Rhode Island hosts arenas and fields fit for every sports team. One of its largest facilities is Meade Stadium, which seats over 5,000 spectators. Athletes looking to compete outdoors will also have access to the Bill Beck Baseball complex. This venue, complete with a new indoor batting facility, sports the same synthetic grass fields that the professionals play on. Soccer fans can cheer on the university’s team at the URI Soccer complex, whose 24 fields are comprised of both artificial and natural grass surfaces. Indoors, the 7,800-seat Ryan Center houses men’s and women’s basketball leagues and the Boss Arena is a 2,500-seat ice arena located right on campus. Restrooms and parking are located on-site.

Sports: Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, swimming

Things to do in Rhode Island

As a sports planner, you know how crucial it is to plan for time off the field. Of course, the pinnacle of a great sports event is just that – the sports. But a truly successful event incorporates fun, engaging activities that will provide fond memories for years to come. Thankfully, Providence is brimming with fun and family-friendly activities year around.

Pay a visit to over 160 animals at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which is also one of the nation’s oldest zoos. Cheetahs, red pandas, snow leopards, American bison, and howler monkeys are just a few of the unique animals that call the zoo home. For another family-friendly outing in Providence check out the Providence Children’s Museum, where it’s easy to spend hours exploring the interactive hands-on exhibits. Children can build bridges and plan a city in the Iway exhibit, scale a two-story high climbing maze in The Climber, delight in the joys of water play at the Water Ways exhibit, and so much more. The Rhode Island School of Design, RISD, is one of the world’s leading institutions for art and design and offers visitors a chance to explore its unique museum collections from around the world. Costumes and textiles, ancient and contemporary art, decorative arts, and much more are all found within the museum’s walls.

For a unique view of Providence, take a boat tour. The Providence River Boat Company welcomes you aboard their 18-passenger vessels where you will learn all about the sites from a knowledgeable tour guide. This experience was recently voted “Best Local Tour” in Rhode Island, so you know you’re in for a treat. For a premier entertainment, shopping, and dining destination, head to Providence Place, where you can be sure there is something for everyone in your group. With 160 stores and services spread over three levels, you can shop at a wide range of stores, indulge in any of the fast food or full-service dining options, and catch a movie at the Providence Place Cinemas.

Of course, there is so much more to Rhode Island beyond Providence. Head down to the gorgeous coastal town of Newport, with its glitz, glamour, and incredible views. You can tour The Breakers, a late 1800s Vanderbilt mansion, pay a visit to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and stroll along the famous Newport Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile shoreline trail that offers spectacular scenery of nearby mansions and the Narragansett Bay. You can also explore the quaint coastal towns that line the bay, which provide beach access and excellent places to unwind after any sports event.

Planner Perspective

John Gibbons and his team at the Providence Warwick CVB have been great to work with and has been a tremendous partner of ours for the last few years especially. We have grown from six teams in 2008 to 155 teams in 2019 due to their help, and assistance with facilities and hotels to making sure we have everything to be successful. More importantly we are expanding operations into softball for 2020 here in Rhode Island to have the biggest tournament on the East Coast at 225 teams in these communities by 2020!

Mark Cooke, Firecracker Baseball

We love holding the Athletic Championships in Providence. It’s the right mix of high-class facilities, quality amenities and convenient location — all at a budget friendly price point.

Athletic Championships: Cole Stott (President and General Manager)

How to Get to Rhode Island

By car: I-95 is the major thoroughfare that bisects the state, connecting visitors to the Greater Boston area (about an hour away) and New York City (3 hours).

By rail: Providence and other cities within Rhode Island are served by Amtrak and regional train services like Boston’s MBTA. This provides visitors with plenty of extra travel options, whether or not they have access to a car.

By air: Six miles south of Providence you will find Green International Airport, which provides service to and from many major hubs such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Contact Information

Company Name: Rhode Island Sports Commission

Sports Sales Manager: John Gibbons

Title: Executive Director

Telephone: 401-456-0240